(named after Kai-Kai filú, an oceanic diety from Mapuche
Named By: R. A. Otero, S. Soto-Acuna, D. Rubilar-Rogers & C. S. Gutstein - 2017.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Squamata, Mosasauroidea, Mosasauridae, Tylosaurinae.
Species: K. hervei (type).
Size: Estimated skull about 1.1 - 1.2 meters long. Total body length estimated to be at least 10 meters long.
Known locations: Antarctica, Seymour Island - Lopez de Bertodano Formation.
Time period: Maastrichtian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Partial skull and jaw. Head of a humerus bone.
is certainly an interesting genus of mosasaur.
First it was one of
the larger mosasaurs known to have been hunting in the waters of the
Southern hemisphere. Also, the teeth of Kaikaifilu
meaning that there were different forms of teeth within the mouth.
This makes Kaikaifilu to be the only the second
genus of mosasaur
known to have had heterodont dentition (the first being
Heterodonty in creatures often points to them being
generalist feeders, and it is possible that Kaikaifilu
may have been
a generalist hunter.
Kaikaifilu is among a growing number of ancient marine reptiles known to have lived in waters around Antarctica, which back in the Cretaceous was not frozen like it is today. A species of the mosasaur Taniwhasaurus and the plesiosaur Aristonectes are also known from Antarctica.
- Kaikaifilu hervei gen. et sp. nov., a new large mosasaur (Squamata, Mosasauridae) from the upper Maastrichtian of Antarctica. - Cretaceous Research 70:209-225. - R. A. Otero, S. Soto-Acuna, D. Rubilar-Rogers & C. S. Gutstein - 2017.